Personal armor, also known as body armor, are type of clothes designed to protect against any weapon attacks. Previously, personal armor use was only confined to military personnel, but now they are also used by police and private security guards. Body armor can be segmented into soft body armor, hard body armor, protective clothing, protective headgears and boots. Hard body armor are more effective against heavy calibre ammunition and they are made up of inflexible materials like ballistic steel, ceramic, etc. Whereas soft body armor are made up of fabric like light ballistic material and is effective against small calibre pistols. Hard armor are used for protecting vital organs and they do not cover whole body, therefore both hard and soft armor are used in conjunction for protection.
Some of the major players operating in the body armor market include: BAE Systems, Point Blank Enterprises, Honeywell International, Australian Defence Apparel Pty Ltd., ArmorSource LLC, Survitec Group Ltd, KDH Defense Systems, and among others.
Demand for personal armor is majorly driven by modernisation programs adopted by different countries. The major focus is on designing futuristic body armors which provide better survivability, sustainability and mobility. Body armor manufacturing companies are working on development of lightweight protective vests, advanced night vision equipment and combat helmets.
North America leads the major survivability-based soldier modernization programs followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. US is working on Buffalo A2 Bar Armor Kits program whereas UK, Australia and India are running Future Infantry Soldier Technology (FIST), Land 125 phase 3B program and F- INSAS survivability based body armor programs respectively.
Major challenge would be fulfilling shortage of body armor and protection equipment majorly faced by the developing countries. In addition, reducing the weight of the body armor without compromising the quality is major challenge for manufacturing companies.
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